United Way of the Greater Fort Hood Area kicked off its 2013 campaign with a luncheon Wednesday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

Pacesetting donors enjoyed a lunch provided by Bush’s Fried Chicken, including ice tea and Black Meg 43 hamburgers and fries. During the meal, in a ballroom decked out in red, white and blue, guests listened to performances by the Harker Heights High School Orchestra, followed by The Funk Factory band.

This year’s fundraising goal is $675,000, and United Way has already raised $40,000 more than they had at this same time last year, said campaign chairman Matt Maxfield, CEO of Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, during his keynote address.

The crowd chuckled as he narrated a video of a shirtless man dancing with a group of people slowly joining him, one by one. The video served as a metaphor for the importance of early followers to a movement.

“Being the first follower is the spark that makes the fire,” Maxfield said. “The first followers transform the lone nut into a leader, and that’s how a movement is made.” He advised the pacesetters to nurture their first few followers and make it about the movement, rather than themselves.

“This is my first United Way event,” said Leedra Larry, Killeen Independent School District payroll coordinator. “I wanted to see what it’s all about from the very beginning.”

After acknowledging all of the $2,500 and above donors by name, Maxfield asked all H-E-B representatives at the event to stand. H-E-B was the only mega platinum donor, a designation indicating it contributed more than $100,000 to the local United Way. Other large-scale donors included the city of Killeen and Metroplex Health Systems, both donating more than $25,000.

The luncheon closed with brief remarks from United Way President Eloise Lundgren, thanking the ASYMCA staff for their help with the meal service, and a rousing musical performance by Copperas Cove ISD Public Information Officer Olga Pena.

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